Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review and giveaway for a new contemporary fairytale M/M romance from Tara Lain. You know I enjoyed SINDERS AND ASH and DRIVEN SNOW so I was eager to read BEAUTY INC, a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, with a gay twist! It’s a sweet romance with a compassionate “beast” who only wants the best for the people around him.
Catch the excerpt, my review, and enter to win a $20 GC below!
About the book:
Is beauty only skin deep?
Chemist Dr. Robert “Belle” Belleterre loves flowers, green trees, his best friend Judy, and “his baby”: the new face cream he developed to help put his father’s small cosmetics company on the map. Sadly he gets no help from his alcoholic, gambling-addicted father who loses Belle in a poker game to Magnus Strong, the CEO of Beauty, Inc. the largest American cosmetics company—a man infamous for his scarred ugliness.
Belle finds himself uprooted from his home, living in a wildly crazy apartment in New York owned by Mr. Pennymaker, and completely unprepared for his mad attraction to the charismatic Strong. Feeling like a traitor, Belle fights his passion only to see more and more of the goodness and humility hidden by Strong’s ugly face. But when Belle’s family starts manipulating his life again, the odds turn against happiness for beautiful Belle and his beloved beast.
How about a little taste?
“Looking for someone?”
“Yes. Judy. My friend. I thought she was coming here.”
“Oh yes. She has her apartment on the ground floor. Mr. Strong thought it would be best if she didn’t have to climb too many stairs while she’s being treated.”
Belle just stared. He felt the tears welling in his eyes but couldn’t stop them. Limb by limb, he collapsed to the floor like an old plastic bag. His own father hadn’t even paid attention, and Magnus Strong put Judy on the ground floor to keep her from having to climb stairs.
Mr. P closed the door and flopped down beside him. “So, my dear, what seems to be the trouble?”
Belle shook his head and snuffled.
“I did a really bad thing.”
“What might that have been, my dear?”
He sniffed. “I humped my boss.”
“Hmm. Humped. I’m failing to get a mental image.”
Belle sighed. “It’s probably just as well. I got overzealous and threw myself on Magnus Strong. That might have been okay, but then I—” He dropped his face in his hand. “Oh God.”
“I’m starting to get an image. Continue.”
He popped his head up. “I kissed him, okay? And then, as if that wasn’t the stupidest thing ever done since W said “mission accomplished,” I managed to get my penis in contact with his and—humped. Now do you get the picture?”
Mr. P clapped his hands. “Perfect.”
“Oh, so far from perfect.” He fell back against the large Asian throw rug. “Why did I do it? Why?”
“Excellent question. Why did you do it?”
“He turns me on.”
Belle sat up, in his best Frankenstein’s monster imitation. “He turns me on like a large neon light.”
“Because he helped your friend?”
“Way before he helped Judy. Before he helped me, in fact.”
Mr. P smiled. “So you acknowledge that he’s helped you?”
“Oh hell, Mr. P, I’m so confused. I mean, getting won in a poker game doesn’t exactly kick a relationship off on a sterling foot. Plus, that was after he seemed to be stalking me. I assumed he was trying to get me here to—you know—screw me instead of my father.”
“Ah, I see. And now you’ve thrown at him the very thing you assumed he wanted—and he refused it.”
“In a word—yes. I don’t know what to think.”
“There’s only one answer, my dear. Outside the box.”
Rob “Belle” Belleterre has a solid love for his crumbling family. His mother died a few years ago and his father, once the dignified head of their small cosmetics company, has devolved into alcoholism and gambling, aided by Belle’s two older brothers. Belle wants the company to succeed and has developed a miracle face cream that will be the company’s best moneymaker–but his father’s mismanagement not only crushes that dream, it sends Belle to NYC to work for Magnus Strong, a direct and powerful competitor.
Belle isn’t happy to be uprooted, and he’s less happy that his family has seemingly abandoned him, but he doesn’t find Magnus, the scarred but compassionate CEO, to be an adversary. On the contrary, Magnus is beloved by his staff, and eager to make Belle comfortable. A stranger in New York, Belle is put into digs that are more plush than a millionaire might be able to afford. And, when his best friend Judy gets bad news, Magnus is the first person to make Judy’s scary diagnosis something positive. In fact, Belle’s never been so motivated to perform–and I mean in the workplace; He’s a consummate professional. Also, he practically climbs Magnus at his desk. Rawr. #Gratitude
This is a modern fairytale, a retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and I really enjoyed it. There are some campy bits and I took those in stride, because of the fairytale setting. This is the third Pennymaker tale I’ve read, and I think I like it best. The whole vibe is mainly upbeat, with a sweet and strong love story. Magnus is scarred because he wants to punish himself for a childhood mistake, and Belle’s so captivated by Magnus’ compassion that he fails to see the outer dents in Magnus’ appearance. It’s a mating of souls and hearts, so much so that Belle never wants Magnus to change, even as he has the resources to hand. Magnus is a great man, and he’s so vulnerable regarding his facial and emotional scars, but Belle’s love helps him feel acceptable–even lovable.
Belle’s family is a bit cartoonish, again the fairytale, but they are a back-burner element of the plot. I adored Belle’s devotion to Judy, and his pure love for Magnus. Naturally, there’s a misunderstanding/setback, which causes everyone to pause, but it’s easily remedied once Belle takes his own destiny in hand. Expect some yummy sexytimes, and an HEA to hang one’s dreams upon.
Click on this Rafflecopter giveaway link for your chance to win a $20 GC.
Good luck and keep reading my friends!
About the Author:
Tara Lain writes the Beautiful Boys of Romance in LGBT erotic romance novels that star her unique, charismatic heroes. Her first novel was published in January of 2011 and she’s now somewhere around book 23. Her bestselling novels have garnered awards for Best Series, Best Contemporary Romance, Best Ménage, Best LGBT Romance, Best Gay Characters, and Tara has been named Best Writer of the Year in the LRC Awards. In her other job, Tara owns an advertising and public relations firm. She often does workshops on both author promotion and writing craft.
She lives with her soulmate husband and her soulmate dog in Laguna Beach, California, a pretty seaside town where she sets a lot of her books. Passionate about diversity, justice, and new experiences, Tara says on her tombstone it will say “Yes”!
You can find Tara at: